Robinson Crusoe Essay

Robinson Crusoe” by D. Defoe is one of the most famous and popular works of this writer. Basically, this work is viewed rather positive, while criticism and skepticism in relation to this book is really few, especially compared to the numerous admirer who view the main character of the book as a noble man who never gives up, is compassionate and overcomes all the hardship and challenges he has faced been in the deserted island. However, such a view on Robinson Crusoe is apparently a bit idealistic, while in actuality, the main character proves to be far from perfect revealing negative traits of his character in his relationship with the only person he lives with in the island, Friday, through he reveals his real nature, a nature of a despotic, haughty, and pragmatic person.

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First of all, it should be said that it is really difficult to reveal immediately while reading the book that the main character, the protagonist of the story, turns to be not as perfect as D. Defoe attempted to represent him. In fact, from the beginning of the book readers really see a courageous, brave man who has passed through probably the greatest test in his life, he has survived after the shipwreck and started his life in the deserted island. In the first half of the book, the author creates a definitely positive image of the main character because Robinson Crusoe, in addition to the qualities mentioned above, is also a real workaholic. In such terrible circumstances, he remains a religious person that was obviously a virtue at the epoch of the creation of the book. In fact, he manages to settle and survive in the hostile world, remaining human. He still has the same values based on Christian principles, he is optimistic and, even though the hope for the rescue is vague, he still continues his efforts to find some way out from the island. For instance, he builds a boat, he prepares signal fires to let ships that may pass by the island know about his presence, he builds his own household shaggy it is.

In the course of the novel his efforts and enthusiasm are rewarded: his household grows more solid, he starts farming successfully, and finally, he finds a companion, whom he calls Friday and, whom he actually saves from the terrible death from the hands of the natives. As a result, it is really difficult to get rid of the impression that the main character is so positive that any criticism of his actions or revealing some negative traits is practically impossible. However, it is actually the moment when Robinson Crusoe finds a companion when his real nature is fully revealed and readers can understand what a kind of person the main character actually is.

In fact, it is through his relationship with Friday the negative traits of his character and the darker side of his personality is revealed. In this respect, it should be said that since the beginning of their acquaintance, the main character has started to dominate over Friday. The fact that this was a native, uneducated and uncivilized person, from the point of view of a European, became probably determinant in the attitude of Robinson Crusoe to his companion. The main character feels his superiority in relation to Friday. He is convinced that his companion is a primitive being who conscious is not formed and whose perception of the surrounding world is naïve, while his moral is absolutely savage and unacceptable for a civilized man. This is why he starts to trait Friday as inferior person, dominates over him and teaches him not only language but also Christian philosophy and even lifestyle.

For instance, it is obvious that Robinson Crusoe does not view Friday as equal, instead, he views him as a useful but primitive assistant. This is why he speaks about Friday as about his man: “I took my man Friday with me, giving him the sword in his hand, with the bow and arrows at his back, which I found he could use very dexterously” (Defoe, 123). Naturally, it is possible to argue that the main character was confident in Friday since he gave him weapon but, it is necessary to remind that he says “my man” instead of my companion or my friend, for instance, and he gives him only the weapon which the native could use effectively for the profit of Robinson Crusoe since with the help of the bow and arrows he could hunt some game and, in such a way, feed his master.

Moreover, the arguments concerning the confidence of Robinson Crusoe in his man are inconsistent since the main character was quite anxious at first about his companion whom he did not even want to settle in his home. In fact, he settled him in such a way that “Friday could no way come at me in the inside of my innermost wall” (Defoe, 124). In fact, he did not even let Friday into his part of the house that is evidence of his superior attitude to the native. Moreover, the fact that he placed himself in the inner side of the house while Friday remain like a watchdog in the outer part of the house who was not even permitted to enter to his master without his acknowledgement.

Furthermore, Robinson Crusoe never stops teaching him but, in fact, he teaches him to be a civilized man according to European standards ignoring interests and values of Friday. Moreover, the main character teaches Friday simply to get some use of him, for Robinson Crusoe states that he made it “my business to teach him everything that was proper to make him useful, handy, and helpful” (Defoe, 125).

Thus, it is possible to conclude that Robinson Crusoe proves to be a pragmatic tyrant who attempts to dominate over Friday whom he views as inferior, uncivilized savage, which needs to be taught and it is in his power to make the native a real, civilized man with the only purpose to make him useful to Robinson, his master.

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